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Auto parts strike achieves major victory - no more two-tier wages at Lear Corporation

By J Burger |
September 15, 2014
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UAW defeats two tier wage structure at Lear Corporation. (FightBack!News/Staff)

Hammond, IN - By 4:00 p.m. Sept. 14, the negotiating committee from UAW Local 2335 had reached a tentative agreement with Lear Corporation. Over 700 workers walked off the job Sept. 13 demanding an end to the two-tier wage structure. In a major victory in the auto industry, the employer agreed to abolish the double standard in wages. Workers will return to work on Sept. 15 and have yet to ratify the agreement.

Fight Back! caught up with Mike Elliot, the chair of the Union Solidarity Committee of UAW Local 551 at the Ford assembly plant in Chicago. His local is the only local in the UAW that has a standing committee like this. Its mission is to build solidarity with other unions and social justice groups and mobilize members from the plant to picket lines, fights for justice, for women’s rights, human rights and even anti-eviction campaigns.

“Without solidarity, none of this would be possible. We set up shifts and brought out a great number of our members to the pickets lines at Lear,” Elliot said. “It was announced this afternoon that Lear Corporation agreed to abolish the two-tier wage structure and increase workers at the top by 1.5%”. The details of the agreement have not been made public yet, but workers on the picket lines were celebrating their fight today.

Elliot expressed how important this is to the 4500 workers at the assembly plant. “Our contract expires next year on Sept. 15, 2015. This is a major blow to what divides the workers: a two-tiered wage structure. You cannot survive long if you have people working next to one another doing the same work and one person is paid half of the other person.” Members of UAW Local 551 will be carefully building for their fight next year to dump the two-tier system there, he added.

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